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Rough Justice

Written By: - Date published: 10:28 am, July 31st, 2010 - 14 comments
Categories: crime, law and "order", police, prisons, us politics - Tags: , , ,

The Economist has a great article looking at the American propensity to deprive their citizens of their liberty for trivial offenses.

America is different from the rest of the world in lots of ways, many of them good. One of the bad ones is its willingness to lock up its citizens (see our briefing). One American adult in 100 festers behind bars (with the rate rising to one in nine for young black men). Its imprisoned population, at 2.3m, exceeds that of 15 of its states. No other rich country is nearly as punitive as the Land of the Free. The rate of incarceration is a fifth of America’s level in Britain, a ninth in Germany and a twelfth in Japan.

As they point out it is primarily a political problem

Some parts of America have long taken a tough, frontier attitude to justice. That tendency sharpened around four decades ago as rising crime became an emotive political issue and voters took to backing politicians who promised to stamp on it. This created a ratchet effect: lawmakers who wish to sound tough must propose laws tougher than the ones that the last chap who wanted to sound tough proposed. When the crime rate falls, tough sentences are hailed as the cause, even when demography or other factors may matter more; when the rate rises tough sentences are demanded to solve the problem. As a result, America’s incarceration rate has quadrupled since 1970.

The same thing has been happening at a lesser rate in other countries as well for the same reason. In NZ we’ve been seeing this counter-productive trend for some time. People are being locked up for longer for more and more trivial offenses. There appears to be little or no effect on the rate that crimes are committed. What does make a difference is funding the police so that they are able to do their job. This was quite evident in large increases in police numbers through the 00’s to the point that they were able to detect and deal with the minor offenses that lead on to further offenses.

Conservatives and liberals will always feud about the right level of punishment. Most Americans think that dangerous criminals, which statistically usually means young men, should go to prison for long periods of time, especially for violent offences. Even by that standard, the extreme toughness of American laws, especially the ever broader classes of ‘criminals’ affected by them, seems increasingly counterproductive.

Many states have mandatory minimum sentences, which remove judges’ discretion to show mercy, even when the circumstances of a case cry out for it. ‘Three strikes’ laws, which were at first used to put away persistently violent criminals for life, have in several states been applied to lesser offenders. The war on drugs has led to harsh sentences not just for dealing illegal drugs, but also for selling prescription drugs illegally. Peddling a handful can lead to a 15-year sentence.

This type of draconian punishment is just silly. After the arms race of promising to get ever tougher on crime, you can wind up going to jail for long periods for very trivial offenses. The only real result is that we wind up paying large amounts of our taxes to build and maintain prisons. Ultimately that money gets pulled away from the police and social programs that work to prevent crime. Quite simply increasing punishments doesn’t act as a deterrent, it is a waste of effort and resources.

It does not have to be this way. In the Netherlands, where the use of non-custodial sentences has grown, the prison population and the crime rate have both been falling (see article). Britain’s new government is proposing to replace jail for lesser offenders with community work. Some parts of America are bucking the national trend. New York cut its incarceration rate by 15% between 1997 and 2007, while reducing violent crime by 40%. This is welcome, but deeper reforms are required.

This is one of the few areas that I find myself in full agreement with Deborah Coddington. Her article last week “Victims’ clamour weighs heavily on scales of justice” was looking at the absurdities of the victimology

This is just that mad lot from Sensible Sentencing, who have the gall to try to call themselves a charity, having their hysterical influence on the National Government and its support party Act.

Who, for instance, does the ministry think it is kidding when it starts out by stating “a greater focus on victims will assist in reducing the cost and impact of crime on individuals and society in general”?

Then further on we find the ministry proposes to establish, among other initiatives, a “Victims of Crime Complaints Officer, and require criminal justice agencies to report to Parliament each year about their responsibilities to victims”.

This officer would tell Parliament how many complaints were received, which agency received the complaints, what they were, whether they were sorted out, and how, ad nauseum.

You can see where this new bureaucracy is going.

Set up a complaints department and the moaners will form a disorderly queue.

There is a lot more in that short article. The nett effect is likely to be more people being incarcerated for longer for no real reason and a grave distortion on the process of the justice system. Simon Power is idiotic for bowing to the minor political pressure and actively pushing this policy.

In this coming election in 2011, I’d suggest that voters actively vote for candidates and parties with policies that are more orientated to preventing crime than pandering to the idiotic slogans of pressure groups like the Sensible Sentencing Trust. In fact don’t vote for anyone who hasn’t issued a statement saying that they think the SST are fools and why. It would be nice to get rid of them out of the political spectrum.

14 comments on “Rough Justice”

  1. bbfloyd 1

    it is now the case in nz that certain charges now require the defendant to prove their innocence, rather than what, i know most of us regard as a cornerstone tenet of our justice? system. that is you are innocent untill proven guilty. the cannabis laws are one example that i know of where the law has been fundamentally changed to shift the onus of proof onto the defendant. it is unbelievable to me that such a fundamental shift toward napoleonic law can be undertaken without any kind of public knowledge. how far away are we from ordinary people being afraid of the police? and when bring arrested for any crime could mean families and friends of anyone arrested can be harrassed and arrested purely for associating with the person arrested? this can only be viewed as an attack on peoples ability to defend themselves from false arrest or police persecution.

  2. Jenny 2

    In a previous post on the causes of crime, I reviewed a recent report from New Scientist about social decay.

    I was startled by the conclusion by New Scientist that the rise in crime, tied with the rise in repression go up together, not in response to each other so much, as in relation to growth in the inequality in society.

    The rich become more fearful and paranoid and so indulge in more repression, while the poor feel more powerless and fearful and alienated and indulge in more crime.

    As New Scientist put it:

    The effects are felt right across society, not just among poor people. “Inequality seems to change the quality of social relations in society,’ says Wilkinson, “and people become more influenced by status competition.’ Anxiety about status leads to high levels of stress, which in turn leads to health problems, he says. In unequal societies trust drops away, community life weakens and society becomes more punitive because of fear up and down the social hierarchy.

    This third effect has more to do with the rise in both repression from the rich and powerful and crime by the poor and powerless.

    • Jenny 2.1

      My conclusion is that state sanctioned violence and repression ie. tasers, armed police building more prisons, more punitive sentences, is just as much a social negative as crime. Of course it doesn’t get quite the same amount of bad press.

      Captcha – dividing

    • lprent 2.2

      Do you have a link to that? Sounds interesting. But it does tally with my observations

      • Jenny 2.2.1

        Hi Lynne
        I am not sure which link you were referring to, the following is the link to my review. The link to the original New Scientist article which I based my comments on, appears at the end of my post.

        Cheers, Jenny

        The Underclass

        Here are some fuller quotes from the original New Scientist article:

        People in deprived areas face two kinds of hazard, Nettle says. First, there are constraints on what they are able to do to mitigate their situation. Diet is a prime example: ‘It’s much more expensive to get 2000 calories a day from fresh fruit and vegetables compared with eating junk food,’ Nettle says. Then the environment is often physically more dangerous and unhealthy. ‘People are doing more dangerous jobs. There is probably more air pollution, more car accidents, a higher crime rate, poorer housing – things you cannot really do much about, which trigger a downward spiral of faster living and less attention to health.’

        It’s all relative
        Still, reducing poverty alone probably isn’t the answer. In their book The Spirit Level (Allen Lane, 2009), epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, of the universities of Nottingham and York, UK, respectively, emphasize the degree of income inequality in a society rather than poverty per se as being a major factor in issues such as death and disease rates, teenage motherhood and levels of violence. They show that nations such as the US and UK, which have the greatest inequality in income levels of all developed nations, also have the lowest life expectancy among those nations, the highest levels of teenage motherhood (see diagrams) and a range of social problems.
        The effects are felt right across society, not just among poor people. ‘Inequality seems to change the quality of social relations in society,’ says Wilkinson, ‘and people become more influenced by status competition.’ Anxiety about status leads to high levels of stress, which in turn leads to health problems, he says. In unequal societies trust drops away, community life weakens and society becomes more punitive because of fear up and down the social hierarchy.
        ‘Really dealing with economic inequalities is difficult because it involves unpopular things like raising tax,’ says Nettle. ‘So rather than fighting the fire, people have been trying to disperse the smoke.’ Politically it is much easier to pump money into education programs even if the evidence suggests that these are, on the whole, pretty ineffective at reducing the effects of poverty.
        There are two quite different ways that societies can be made more equal, Wilkinson says. Some countries, like Sweden, do it by redistribution, with high taxes and welfare benefits. In others, earnings are less unequal in the first place. Japan is one such country, and it has one of the highest average life expectancies and lowest levels of social problems among developed nations. Other important factors, says Wilkinson, are strong unions and economic democracy.

        PS. The first quote I thought was very pertinent to the current debate on removing GST on food which is currently making it’s way through parliament. A social good that of course John Key instinctively and vehemently opposes.

        A bid to remove GST on healthy foods to lower costs has been slammed by the Government.
        Prime Minister John Key said the Government will not support Maori MP Rahui Katene’s bill

    • ZB 2.3

      Why do people band around negatives as if they could add to a debate, negatives are symptoms not causes, they are what get our attention but do not provide the whole solution. The error of ACT, Sensible Sentencing Trust neo-simplistic solutions are just that they stay concentrated on the symptoms. Laws goes out and sells Gang branding! Intimidation! It was a shocker to hear, now more people than ever fear gang patches like many in gangs want!

      We cannot have civil liberties without a civil society. America fails because instead of providing a civil society it spent its oil money providing a seperated society, everyone loving a large yard away from each other and cars doors seperating them. NZ has a poor civil rights record, high gang participation and high crime indicate that our society is not as civil as it could be.

      So what I’m trying to say is you can either claim a strong human rights society by keeping people from engaging one another (faking it) or you can like so many Western European State actually get on with solving social problems and showing citizens how and why other citizens need space, need citizens to give up a little. e.g. Londoners, NYers, all have the habit of going round people in their way, because it takes longer to ask people to move! This breeds people who are capable of not taking easy offense, they accept, because they see it ever day, people unthinkingly getting in each others way and know that those who will succeed will be those who get over it and move on, focused.
      Suburbs allow people to just get on, they keep everyone out of each others way, and so breed a much less tolerant car driving and neighbor society. This is why NZ needs medium housing in and around city centers, to breed social citizens that learn how to get along without having to spend half an hour nattering pleasentries like they lived in the back country! Geez.

      Create diverse living environments, solve the human density problems and you get better civil rights, civil societies,
      do the opposite, segregate and keep citizens apart and they will never learn. Gangs are an indictator of a failure of civil rights and we should all be ashamed, most especially the Human Rights Commission who seem more interested in protecting the rights of gangs to assemble by being silent about the law abiding rights of citizens. Gangs are unions of young men who are disaffected, looking for security, and seeking status. They are not new, gangs exist whereever there is a breakdown of governance, and putting young men in jail just makes them worse when they only crime was trying to survive. Full employment should be a government goal, repression was easy like cheap easy oil and debt, now repression will cost us all more as we come more insecure and push even more young men into gangs.

    • Good comment Jenny. This mirrors the findings in the book “The Spirit Level”.

      The greater the inequality the worse the performance of the society.

  3. Ag 3

    Why is this a surprise?

    The US is, despite its traditions of individual liberty, peopled by very authoritarian (in the social psych sense) folk. It’s a very strange culture where people constantly laud freedom in the abstract, but are deathly afraid of it in the concrete.

  4. Marco 4

    I agree that ending social deprivation will have a stronger influence on crime than tougher sentences. What tougher sentences achieve is more abhorrent crime as criminals fight harder to avoid capture.

    However, fringe groups such as SST provide an outlet for people and it’s up to politicians to ignore them rather than pander to them. Sea Shepard in some circles could be considered a group as reactionary as SST, even Greenpeace have openly disapproved of their methods.

    Whilst most people would like lower crime and and end to whaling and groups like these have a right to express their opinions, unfortunately these extreme views sell advertising for media outlets so they won’t go away in a hurry.

  5. randal 5

    the pinheads rool dude.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Yep, I’m very very glad that I don’t live in the US – the home of the eternally paranoid.

  6. Rex Widerstrom 7

    Yes, we’re not as bad as America but we shouldn’t be congratulating ourselves because we’re getting there… and by a route which is more pervasive and dangerous. The US does, as other commenters have pointed out, have an authoritarian streak. Australia and NZ do not… the former was founded by convicts, for goodness sake!

    We’re not, for the most part, instinctively inclined to draconian punishments. But we’re having this tolerance eroded daily by the sickening exploitation of victims by the Sensible Sentencing Trust and their allies in the media, always on the lookout for tears and raw emotion no matter whether it’s an eliminated reality show contestant or the spouse of a murder victim.

    Our natural tendency toward reason and balance, toward punishment and rehabilitation, toward condemnation and compassion, is constantly attacked. “What, you don’t want this young offender locked away without natural light and subject to prison rape?! Why, you’re as good as telling this grieving widow to go to hell!!”

    The SST uses the very qualities that have led NZers to take a “sensible” view of justice and manipulates them into making us feel guilty. Almost, I’d go so far as to say, feel like parties to the crime unless we join the chorus baying for harsher punishments.

    The truly sad thing is, when the anger stage of the grief process has passed (and we “grieve” for everything from a stolen bicycle to a murdered loved one) rationality returns. But by then the SST doesn’t want to hear from victims. Nor does the “system” – I’ll bet that if the “Victims of Crime Complaints Officer” starts receiving complaints that the process as it stands is doing nothing to help victims cope, it’ll be disestablished or otherwise be swept under the carpet.

    What McVictim and his crew are doing is fighting to deny victims the kind of freedom from sorrow and anger experienced by this woman.

    LP, I commend your last paragraph to everyone. I just hope that by 2011, some party has expressed such sentiments because as it stands at present none are worthy of consideration under your criteria (though based on their performance in Australia on this issue, I have high hopes for the Greens).

  7. Roger 8

    I read this in a local paper some time ago that suggests a link between a highly punitive justice system and higher crime rates, it is worth a read.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/opinion/off-pat/3259999/Expert-warning-on-get-tough-rules

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    John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says....
    Labour | 17-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit. “If you’re lucky enough to have...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Māori development crucial to New Zealand’s future
    Labour recognises the concern of Māori about child poverty and the rising costs of living, and in Government will make a real difference to the wellbeing of whānau and iwi, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “As our Māori...
    Labour | 16-09
  • MAORI PARTY – DON’T COMPLAIN … WALK
    “If the Maori Party are serious about stopping government spying on NZ citizens then they should tell the Prime Minister to either stop doing it or they will walk away” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, on...
    Mana | 16-09
  • JOHN KEY SUPPORTING LABOUR
    “There is something really sick about a National Party Prime Minister coming out in support of a Labour candidate” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira, after hearing that John Key is urging voters to back Labour in...
    Mana | 16-09
  • SHUT DOWN THIS GOVT NOT KAITI WINZ – Nikora
    “I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can” is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti  said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Winegums make for better polling – Harawira
    I wanted to laugh when I saw the Native Affairs poll the other night (Hone Harawira 38%, Kelvin Davis 37%) because it was almost the same as the one they did back in 2011”, said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 16-09
  • The Leadership of MTS Lied – Harawira
    “Normally I’m happy to tell people that I was right but when I received the news about the staff cuts at Maori Television, I had nothing but sympathy for the three Maori media leaders who are going to be made...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Privileges Complaint Laid against Prime Minister – Harawira
    MANA Movement Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has today lodged a Privileges Complaint with the Speaker regarding the Prime Ministers denials in parliament that he knew anything about Kim Dotcom before 2012. “Information made public today appears...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Sharples’ new appointments are out of order
    The new appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal announced by Dr Pita Sharples this morning are completely out of order given the election is just five days away, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “This Government continues to show disdain...
    Labour | 15-09
  • MANA Movement Housing Policy
    “When families are living in cars, garages, cockroach-infested caravans and three families to a house then we have a housing crisis”, said MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira. “When you have a housing crisis for low-income...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore and Seabed – Sykes
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both...
    Mana | 14-09
  • MANA wants Te Reo Māori petition fulfilled
    Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Te Hāmua Nikora, MANA candidate for Ikaroa Rāwhiti  “More than four decades have passed and the petition calling for Te Reo Māori in schools...
    Mana | 14-09
  • Primary focus on the critical issues
    A Labour Government will prioritise New Zealand’s agricultural sectors by recreating a Rural Affairs Minister and appointing a Primary Industry Council and a Chief Agricultural Adviser. Releasing Labour’s Primary Sector and Rural Affairs policies today, spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Maori Television fears confirmed – Harawira
    ...
    Mana | 12-09
  • More ghost houses from National
    The Government’s desperate pre-election announcement of more ghost houses won’t fool Aucklanders wanting action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “These are ghost houses, to go with National’s ghost tax cut. Families cannot live in ghost...
    Labour | 12-09
  • National bows to union pressure over travel time
    National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “This decision is long overdue...
    Labour | 12-09
  • It. Is. About. The. Economy. Stupid.
    Liam Dann does a good job of explaining the positive and negative issues looming for the NZ economy and as dairy prices plunge again overnight alongside a large Wall st sell off  and China Bank rumours begin, his case for the negative...
    The Daily Blog | 01-10
  • Don’t think of it as reinvading Iraq, think of it as redecorating Iraq
    I think some NZers view Iraq like an episode of The Block. Yes Iraq is the worst country on the street, but with a bit of elbow grease by our SAS and some great deals down at Bunnings, hey presto we...
    The Daily Blog | 01-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Mana Maori alliance
    Most Maori you speak to on the street can’t understand why Mana movement and  Maori Party don’t combine it confuses them why Maori are divided cross benches in Parliament instead of a unified political power that represents 15% of the...
    The Daily Blog | 01-10
  • Party members and affiliates – the real losers in Labour’s leadership f...
    Hey, wanna do a back room deal that cuts the members and affiliates out? Cunliffe must be reeling. He has lost failed Ilam candidate James Dann. It must cut as deep as the loss of Steve Gibson. Apart from providing Claire...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election res...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election result...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • The rich get richer
    Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman highlights the growing inequality in this article in the New York Times. The left wing slogan that the “the rich get richer” is a fact of almost perverse power. The most recent period of expansion in the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • A brief word on reinvading Iraq
    So after telling the country before the election that NZ would not send forces to Iraq, lo and behold now he’s won the election with a full spectrum dominance political majority, Key is suddenly now looking to join the re-invasion of...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • A brief word on the importance of ACT, Maori Party and United Future to Nat...
    I’m a far right wing clown who attacks tax money going on anything collective, gimmie some cash and privilege.  One of the great successes of National has been to implement hard right policy but have it sold as moderate. For some NZers,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Labour’s Angst
    Was Labour’s predictably low vote David Cunliffe’s fault? Was it policy? Was it something else that has aroused perceptions of electoral carnage? My analysis of the numbers suggests that, as uncertain voters made up their minds, there was a late...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Information wars: Gaza as “the last taboo”, the threat of mass surveill...
    “When the truth is replaced with silence” wrote the soviet dissident Yevgeni Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.” There has been a silence these past months full of noise, static and sound bites of those in power justifying their violence,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?
    I was watching The Nation in the weekend, and watched the defenders of NZ media up against Minto telling him he was wrong in his claims of media bias and that the media covered Dirty Politics. I laughed. When the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG – P Campbell – To the Left with love
    A week after the general election results I feel wrung out emotionally, having been through the disappointment, depression and anger of seeing  another right wing government elected overwhelmingly by winning support from the parts of NZ that will never benefit...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – I will be the new Labour Leader!
    One week after the election, while I was still waiting to be consulted about contributing to the review on what went wrong, what do you know? There is a leadership challenge. So instead of opting for a united, thoughtful and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – A Prescient Post
    A very prescient pre-election post by Martyn Bradbury tells us why the Labour Party are at war now. “The NZ First-Labour Party attack strategy against Internet MANA better work” Despite Martyn Bradbury warning them this Right Wing strategy “Better Work”...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – W(h)ither Labour (!/?)
    There’s an old saying that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Not so in the Labour Party, wherein soul-crushing defeat on a scale unseen since 1925 definitely has many fathers (and more than a few mothers and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • At the end of the day…
    At the end of the day…...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty
    Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Internet MANA the election and the media
    I’ve been very critical of media reporting of Internet MANA during the election campaign and not surprised at the predictable response from representatives of the corporate media establishment. I wasn’t going to carry this further but was asked at the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Rachel Jones – A superficial discourse analysis of a superfic...
    On Sunday there was a story about Paddy Gower and his detached retina in the Herald on Sunday. Really? I hear you ask. Really? Yes, really. Pam Corkery will have sprayed toast crumbs over her dressing gown. The reporter has become...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Terrorising Australia’s Muslim population
    We should be suspicious when 800 police conduct “terror” raids across Australia, but only one person is charged with a relevant terrorism offence (of which we know few details). We should be suspicious of the lurid tales of terrorists planning...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its min...
    Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its mind. I know the Labour party has its problems and I’m not even going to try to prescribe what should be done about it. But what I...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Loyalty, Leadership and the Labour Party
    My first after the election and I can only say I’m feeling pretty sad.  It was a terrible result, and feels even more so knowing the number of volunteers hours, hard work & sacrifice made by so many people who...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • A Study in Party Stability
    . In terms of long-term stability, one party above stands above all others, with the exception of personality-driven groups such as NZ First and United Future. That party is the Greens. If the Labour Party wants to look elsewhere for...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Cunliffe vs Robertson – Round 2
    Much to the disappointment of the NZ Herald and other right wing pundits who have decided they would like to appoint the next Labour leader, Cunliffe has surprised by deciding to damn the Caucus and appeal directly to the members...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The tasks before the left and labour movement
    Anyone on the left would have been disappointed at the result of the election. There was an opportunity to win, but that got lost through a combination of factors. There were tactical decisions made by Labour, the Greens and Internet-Mana...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • From Fiji’s dictatorship to ‘democracy’ – the AUT student team on t...
    Mads Anneberg’s profile on Ricardo Morris and Repúblika. David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. THREE STUDENTS from AUT University covered Fiji’s historic “from dictatorship to democracy” general election this month. While the election arguably legitimised Voreqe Bainimarama’s so-called 2006...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • David Cunliffe Resigns As Labour Leader – Forces Robertson Out of the Bel...
    David Cunliffe has made a smart move, resigning as the leader of the Labour Party so as to force a leadership primary campaign. The move draws rival Grant Robertson out of the beltway to parts of the country where he...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Deep thought vs Deep prejudice
    . . This letter to the editor appeared in The Listener, on 27 September, and caught my attention; . . Mr Dawson wrote in response to one of those typically unthinking comments which  condemned the poor for their “unbridled, reckless...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The NZ National voters elected
    The NZ National voters elected...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The post election postmortem is giving me post p...
    I feel the need to contribute to the discourse. This is a new experience for me. Not having an opinion, but expressing it on a popular forum in a public sphere. That’s why I have waited till now and put...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A dictionary of education terms and definitions, brought to you by the let...
    Free to all TDB readers, please enjoy your very own cut-out-and-keep handy primer of terms that I predict you will need to know over the next three years… Achievement Gap (noun) Synonym for wealth gap. ACT (abstract noun) Intangible. Reported to exist in...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA
    New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • Reflecting on Elections Past
    There are a number of past elections that can give the left in New Zealand guidance and hope. Two major points though. Major parties require leaders who can bridge the political divide through strength of personality, vision of what it...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • Submissions sought on herbicide for weed control in maize
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on a herbicide to improve broadleaf weed control in maize. The substance CADET contains 100g fluthiacet-methyl in the form of an emulsifiable concentrate and would contain a new active ingredient...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line
    Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line TV personality Jesse Mulligan will live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line this October in order to raise awareness of sex trafficking. Mulligan will survive on $2.25 for his food from October...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn?
    Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn? - Sue Bradford, Russell Brown & Kirk Serpes discuss....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change
    Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change at launch of Pacific environment report...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages
    The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management advises that while changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages come into effect from today (Wednesday 1 October), the Ministry has been, and remains, the authoritative voice for tsunami...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Police remove banner at Statoil Offices in Wellington
    Oil Free Wellington hung a banner at 9:30 this morning at the Statoil office headquarters in Wellington as the Petroleum Summit opened in Auckland. The banner, which read 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil', has now been removed...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Mixed massages raise concerns
    Mixed massages raise concerns for Te Taumata Kaumatua Ngapuhi nui tonu, and Te Wakaminenga O nga Hapu Ngapuhi....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Union Slams Port Boss’s Pay Rise
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) says Lyttelton Port CEO Peter Davie’s 18% wage rise, taking his pay packet to $1.24m, is unjustified and inflammatory. ‘Lyttelton port has an appalling health and safety record, with three deaths on...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Prisons expert Ron Nikkel to speak in Auckland October 15
    Prison Fellowship NZ and JustSpeak have the privilege of hosting the former president of Prison Fellowship International, Ron Nikkel....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Hundreds of educators protest IES in Rotorua
    Four hundred educators from around the country took their opposition to the Government's controversial Investing in Educational Success policy to the public today....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Crime drops by 3.2 % in the 2013 / 2014 financial year
    Criminal offences dropped by 3.2 % in the last financial year according to figures released today through Statistics New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: what do we learn?
    I would like to invite you to a Fabians Reflection on "Dirty Politics, Dotcom and Labour’s worst result" with Colin James, Keith Ng, Stephanie Rodgers and Richard Harman. They will provide a debrief of analysis and lessons from the 2014...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Oil Free Wellington drops banner from Statoil headquarters
    Today members of Oil Free Wellington have targeted the offices of Statoil, by attaching a banner reading 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil' to the entrance of Vodafone on the Quay Midland Park, where Statoil's New Zealand office...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Media Statement from Karen Price
    “After a period of intense media attention and scrutiny of our family, I set up and used an anonymous Twitter account over the weekend and made a number of comments that I deeply regret....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Greenpeace disrupts Simon Bridges’ speech to oil industry
    Greenpeace activists have disrupted the opening speech by Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges at the Petroleum Summit in Auckland this morning....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • An open letter to the Prime Minister
    in which Transparency International New Zealand asks the Prime Minister to ensure integrity underpins all work he leads "in the best interests of all New Zealanders"...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Paula Bennett ‘great work’ acknowledged – McVicar
    “Paula Bennett, as Minister of Social Development, has contributed significantly in lowering our crime rate and preventing further victims.” - McVicar...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Key’s Restraint in Propping up ACT Welcomed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the announcement that ACT MP David Seymour will not be appointed as a Minister....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Only Concession is from the Taxpayer
    Responding to the confidence and supply agreement reached between John Key and Peter Dunne’s United Future Party, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A Tent for Any Tenant
    AUT students and Salvation Army Manukau Community Ministries team up to raise awareness, as South Auckland’s housing situation moves from crisis to collapse...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report Seeks Comments
    The Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report and Recommendations was published on 25th September 2014 and the panel are inviting comments. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, the organisation campaigning for consistent speed limits outside schools, is encouraged...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour’s Review – Terms of Reference Agreed
    Labour's Review - Terms of Reference Agreed Following a meeting of its ruling New Zealand Council yesterday, Labour has released the terms of reference for the comprehensive review initiated following its 2014 election result. The review will comprise three...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • The final countdown for Kiwi smokers
    There are just two days left until many smokers stubb out their cigarettes for the last time and embark on Stoptober – New Zealand’s first national quit-smoking month....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose”
    “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose” – Chris Hipkins Labour Senior Whip I would say to all of the caucus and all of the members let's actually hear the arguments from the people who want to be leader,...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Campaign to make Murder of Unborn ”Safe and Legal”
    The IPPF have launched an international campaign through its 161 affiliates including the New Zealand Family Planning Association [NZFPA] to make the murder of the unborn safe and legal and accepted as a human right. This is an acceleration of...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Grant Robertson Labour leader hopeful on TVNZ Q+A
    “Look I think what we need to be is relevant, clear and consistent with New Zealanders about the Labour Party's values,” said Labour leader hopeful Grant Robertson on TVNZ’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour Needs to Get House in Order Before Deciding Leader
    Ex Labour party leader and possible repeat contender David Shearer says the Labour Party is going about the post-election period in the wrong way....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Hate merchants at it again with smear tactics
    “It’s disappointing to see the hate merchants at it again with yet another attempt to smear and silence a health professional who’s doing research they disagree with,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
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